just under the 2:30 mark-- 2:13 to be exact. First of all, the directions to the DMV called for a left turn on 84th St.. Guess what? It was a right turn. So that took about 15 minutes, just to find the place. And then after waiting in the information line for ten minutes, and the help line for fifteen, and the cashier line for about 8, I got to the front, ready to give them my money.
"Please tell me it's not cash only."
"Please tell me where to find an ATM."
It was just around the corner, in a liquor store (which tempted me strongly). And then it was in, ten more minutes in the cashier line, eight minutes in the picture line, twelve minutes waiting for the picture to come through and the license to be printed.
"But, unfortunately, sir, this is not a full-service facility, and we cannot help you get new plates, or even temporary plates. Here is a list of full-service DMVs."
"And what is this?" I thought, "a half service facility? Oh, no, I get it, a half-assed service facility." And with that, I was out of the Secretary of States Department of Motor Vehicles, having completed half of what I had come to do, in a snappy hour and ten minutes.
And the gas guage lay on empty. Pull into a Citgo, go inside to pay, grab a Gatorade for lunch, and for the first time in two weeks, ask for a pack of Camel Turkish Silvers. Don't worry, though. They were out, so they gave me Camel Lights instead. And they were out of gas. How? I don't know, and I think if I had stayed around, the clerks arms would have ended up wound in a tight knot around his head, and mine would have ended up in handcuffs.
So it was up the block after a hairy left turn onto Harlem, across the street, into a Mobil. They had managed to deplete their entire reservoir of fuel as well, and the pumps, bar none, were out of service. Foul words gurgled in my throat.
By the time I paid thirty bucks for less than half a tank of gas, struggled through inexplicable traffic, and made it back to the highway, I was receiving messages from co-workers asking whether I was dead.
No, but that sounds nice, thanks for asking.
When I left, I half expected the experience to be a breeze. I mean, the DMV can't really be as bad as everyone makes out, right? No, wrong. So very wrong.